What should you know of protections for intellectual property?

Glenn W. Peterson

Creators in California will always need ways to protect their intellectual property. Fortunately for you, there are also many different methods allowing you to do just that. Whether it’s patents, copyrights, trademarks, or more, there are legal ways to keep your creative ideas, art, or inventions safe.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has a chart defining different types of intellectual property protection. Today, we’ll take a look at trademarks, copyrights, and patents. We’ll start with trademarks, which are used to protect the symbols, words, slogans, and other product or brand-identifying pieces of art or writing. The Nike checkmark is one such protected trademark.

Copyrights are used to protect a large number of tangible products, with a large emphasis on content that has already been produced and is marketable. This includes:

  • Books
  • Music
  • Photographs and videos
  • Fine art
  • Computer programs

Things that you can physically hold, see, listen to, and experience can be copyrighted. For example, an e-book can be copyrighted even if it isn’t printed out, because the customer is still reading the final product.

Patents are intended to protect things that are less tangible than those protected by copyrights. It’s used for inventions, or ideas. For example, chemical fertilizer or the iPod are both patented products. Processes can also be patented, such as a certain process for genetic manipulation in mice.

All of these intellectual property protections cover different needs of their creators. If you have an idea or product that you wish to legally protect, you may want to consider taking a closer look at any of the aforementioned methods.